Clara Ongil is a Spanish graphic designer and artist from Madrid based in Brooklyn.
Hi Clara! Tell us a few words about yourself, and how did it all start for you in the world of art?
Clara: Hi 123art! I’m a graphic designer and artist from Spain based in Brooklyn. Growing up, I was very fortunate to have art enthusiasts as parents. I was exposed to the world of art by experiencing art exhibitions at a young age and throughout my entire adolescence. Seeing and experiencing the worldview in the eyes of such personal expressions, visual references, and spatial experiences tremendously inspired me to constantly explore new ways to express myself.
Do you think your skills as a graphic designer have an influence on your art and vice versa?
Clara: Definitely. It’s an interesting relationship because as both graphic designer and artist, my objective is to always bring strong concepts to life — one in the commercial sphere and the other as a personal expression of who I am. In a way, it’s a real struggle as the restrictions and discipline as a designer sometimes confines my artistic freedom. But this juxtaposition also pushes me further, in ways of exploring new materials, moving more and more into other analogic techniques to break away from that dynamic.
Could you walk us through your process? How much planning do you do before you jump into doing an artwork? If you do, what are you trying to solve at each stage of it?
Clara: My art is an expression of my personal growth, my values, and most importantly, of what challenges me in this world. Each concept evolves slowly as it’s part of my inner process, and most of the time it takes me months, or even years to produce what I’ve been working on conceptually. I feel that when you dive into something so deeply, you’ll inevitably develop experience, knowledge and a unique angle to express and share with the world.
What would you say is your strongest skill and how have you honed that skill over the years?
Clara: I’d say that one of my strongest skills would be my sense of color and composition through the power of minimalism — there is beauty in the things that can express so much feeling and complexity by saying so little.
I truly believe the premise of Robert Morris’ essay, ‘Notes on Sculpture’ in that “Simplicity of shape does not necessarily equate with simplicity of experience”, and throughout my evolution as a designer and artist, this idea remains an important pillar of my artistic expression and philosophy.
You’ve worked with a wide range of global clients, including Coca-Cola, UBER, IHG, Madison Square Garden, and many more. What type of project do you enjoy working on the most?
Clara: Working for global leading companies throughout my years as a designer has for sure been extremely enriching. Today, as a graphic designer what I enjoy the most is bringing new brands to life. With the digital space being more crowded than ever, it is becoming more and more challenging to stand out and resonate with target audiences, and that challenge really excites me. At the beginning of this year, together with my partners, we launched Lullabelles, a jewelry brand designed for moms-to-be. I led the conceptualization, branding, art direction, and product design. The project is beautiful from its very base concept, and the design process has been an amazing growing and insightful experience. I encourage you to take a look! www.lullabelles.com
Tell us more about your series of illustrations called “Tragédie”. What’s the story behind it?
Clara: In my more personal work, I like to explore the idea of personal growth and feminism in a world full of contradictions and unfairness. The challenge of growing freely and becoming who you really want to be in a society where sexism is pervasive and at times, extremely tough. This idea delved into Tragédie, a series of illustrations and screen prints that represent the struggle between those established standards, presumptuous
projections and our reality, between the past and the present, between the expectations and its consequences. It’s about shifting the norms around. Imperfection becomes perfection, keeping true to the essence but assuming
the form of your true self.
How has your art evolved over the years?
Clara: It has evolved into a more conceptual, abstract representation of my ideas.
What artists have influenced your work the most?
Clara: Growing up, the work of the Spanish artist Manolo Valdés inspired me to start making my own art. I was fascinated by his color combination and overall composition. In the most recent years, artists Lee Ufan, Richard Serra, Isamu Noguchi, and Dan Flavin really move me because of the way their pieces emphasize material, perception, and their relationship between space and matter. As well as the sensitivity and the extremely powerful representation of the society we live in of Tyler Mitchel and Ren Hang, who sadly left us at the beginning of his career.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Clara: My favorite and most flattering may have described my art as timeless.
What is the best way to reach people that are interested in your art?
Clara: You can take a look at my art and are available for purchase at claraongil.bigcartel.com. I’m always open and excited about collaborations and commissions. Just shoot me an email at email@example.com
What’s next for Clara?
Clara: Next up on my list is to jump into the 3D world, starting with ceramics and other materials to create a sculpture collection. Wish me luck!